Bayswater Councillor�’s accessible playground campaign

Martin Toldo with his granddaughter Téa Lake.Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au   d443041
Martin Toldo with his granddaughter Téa Lake.Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au d443041

COUNCILLOR Martin Toldo wants all big playgrounds in the City of Bayswater to have equipment designed to meet the needs of children with disabilities.

Cr Toldo moved a motion at the August meeting that as part of all future playground renewal projects, at least one piece of equipment in each playground be accessible for all children, including children with a disability.

The motion was close to Cr Toldo’s heart because his four-year-old granddaughter Téa Lake is wheelchair-bound and suffers from microcephaly-capillary malformation (MIC-CAP) syndrome.

Téa is the only person in Australia to be diagnosed with the rare disease, which is characterised by an abnormally small brain and head size, and abnormalities of small blood vessels in the skin.

Cr Toldo said playgrounds with accessible equipment for children with disabilities would benefit them and their families.

“It would bring joy and happiness to lots of families and children where they now could interact with other children,” he said. Cr Toldo said having playgrounds accessible to all children close by was important because it drastically improved children with disabilities’ lives and made it easier for parents.

He said having a long drive to a playground could deter parents who already had a lot to deal with.

Cr Toldo said the closest playground he could take Téa was at Riverside Gardens, about 10 minutes away, and the closest playground without accessible equipment was Swan Lake Reserve.

He said the playground brought Téa to life and made her smile.

Cr Toldo initially wanted all playgrounds to have at least one piece of equipment accessible for children with a disability, but was advised by councillors and officers against it due to cost.

His motion was changed to apply to the city’s 10 bigger playgrounds, excluding the city’s 100 local playgrounds.

As part of Cr Toldo’s motion, he wants the council to consider allocating $40,000 to install a new piece of accessible and inclusive play equipment at Bardon Park as a part of the mid-year review.